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Middle east

Syria's Assad in Saudi Arabia for talks on Mideast peace, Iran

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-14

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for discussions on Mideast peace efforts, amid renewed efforts to build Arab unity around Palestinians ahead of a possible resumption of talks with Israel.

AFP - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for talks with King Abdullah expected to cover Middle East peace efforts, Iran's role in the region and Iraq.
The king greeted Assad at Riyadh airport and the two headed to Abdullah's private desert farm Janadiriyah outside the capital where the monarch was to host a dinner, the official SPA news agency said.
The visit comes amid stepped-up efforts by Riyadh to build Arab unity around the Palestinians ahead of a possible resumption of peace talks with Israel.
It has also been seeking to isolate Iran, which is a key ally of Syria, over its controversial nuclear programme.
Damascus-Riyadh ties were severely strained for years, notably over Syria's role in Lebanon and its support for Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, before a thaw marked by landmark Damascus trip by Abdullah in October.
But the two countries still differ over Lebanese politics, over the Palestinian division between the Hamas and Fatah factions, and Iran's role in the region, according to diplomats and analysts.

Date created : 2010-01-14